When you are an actor so versatile that you fit every role and every screen size, nothing else matters. Gurmeet Choudhary has proved it on the tube, the big screen and the OTT.
You are giving us some serious travel goals, especially when we are travel-starved because of pandemic. Tell us about your recent holiday.
This year has been difficult for the entire world because of the pandemic. Among other things, we have also lost a great amount of ‘travelling’ time… Once my wife (Debina Bonnerjee) and I recovered from Covid, our first desire was to go for a vacation. Every year around this time, we go to either London or Paris. This year, we decided on Dubai, which is one of my favourite destinations. Initially, we were hesitant to travel as it was our first trip out of India since Covid started, and because a lot of rules have changed. But, our overall experience has been awesome and it was worth it to finally being able to travel.
You’ve battled Covid. Did you come out of quarantine with any life lessons?
It has taught us the importance of slowing down and being mindful. The first few months in the lockdown were full of self-discoveries. I was going through emotional turmoil, and was worried for my loved ones. Slowly, with the help of meditation and the right kind of people around me, I became calmer. I connected with myself better. I enjoyed cooking, reading and working out.
I also had the opportunity to test myself further during the shooting of my upcoming film, The Wife. We were a large unit that shot with all the precautions and still had an amazing experience. Completing a film during the pandemic is an achievement and it was made possible because of an efficient team and support of Zee Studios.My perspective on life has changed. I think I have become wiser now, I value family and things more.
You speak highly of late Sushant Singh Rajput. How did the actor impact your career?
Sushant and I shared a cordial relationship. We both started with TV, and both hail from Bihar. We met at events and were always warm towards each other. Somewhere we both have had similar journeys. He paved the way for actors like me in Bollywood. If he hadn’t been successful, perhaps filmmakers would have rejected me as well. Sushant changed Bollywood’s outlook towards TV stars. After Sushant broke that barrier, I was able to make a Bollywood debut with a Bhatt camp film, Khamoshiyaan.
Would you say that today the size of the screen is irrelevant for artists like you?
As long as the role is substantial, it doesn’t matter whether it is for traditional films or web series. If you have an impactful role and manage to deliver on it, the audience will remember you.
These days, traditional films and web-series are both on OTT, the lines have blurred. As actors, it is our duty to entertain irrespective of the size of the role or the screen. We have to give it our all, because the audience can actually tell when you have put in an effort. The rise of OTT platforms is the best thing to have happened to actors, offering more avenues to showcase talent. I totally agree. OTT has changed the whole game. The possibilities and opportunities are endless for actors old and new. OTTs are driven by content and performance. This platform has already churned out so many superstars, with countless more in the making. The sky is truly the limit.
What are you currently working on?
I have just finished the shoot of The Wife, an urban horror film. A Zee Studios production, it has been directed by Sarmad Khan. And I am paired alongside Sayani Datta. We are in the post-production phase.
How difficult it is to keep your sanity in the industry? How do you deal with stress, and insecurity that come with the job?
As with most jobs, there is a lot of stress involved. Working out and yoga has helped me. Sometimes, you also need a break from social media as constantly living in the public eye can take its toll. Sometimes you feel insecure, because no matter where you go or what you do, you will have critics, trolls and haters. You just have to rise above that and trust that you are giving your best and doing all you can.
What kind of roles excite you?
I like playing complex characters where I can showcase my versatility. If the character has depth, strong emotions and a strong backstory, I find it very interesting. I am also eager to get roles which involve dancing. I have won a few dance reality shows so I have kind of mastered my dancing skills, and have enjoyed it greatly. But my heart lies in action-packed roles.
An ideal relationship: Comfort, trust with a pinch of craziness, just like Debina and mine
Your idea of friendship: Trust
An ideal woman: All women are magical, they are the ones who carry souls within them.. Aren’t they all real ‘super-heroines’!
A book that has inspired you: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. During the lockdown, it inspired me and helped me fight anxiety and all other negative emotions
Your most luxurious indulgence: Everything that I have achieved and owned on my own is my luxurious indulgence
What’s on top of your bucket list: As of now, to travel
Your dream car: Rolls Royce, Ferrari.. the list is long… I’m a sucker for good rides
Mountains or beaches: Both
Living out of a suitcase or chilling at home: Love chilling at home but we all deserve to live out of a suitcase now, we have had enough of home
A piece of advice to the world: Live and let live
What is your style staple: A crisp white shirt with denims and a cap, too, please!
Pictures: Rohan Pingle; Styling: Richa Ranawat
Stylist: Yash Brahmbhatt
Make-up: Arvind Thakur; Hair: Ganesh Ragir